For the Week of: 12/25-31/2003
“At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new fangled shows,
But like of each thing in season grows.”
Berowne in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost [I.i.105-7]

First show of the New Year, El Paso, Texas. See website for details. A gift that keeps on giving? A subscription to the weekly — updated — horoscopes? Best deal? Only costs $2.95.

Mercury is still backwards, edging towards Sagittarius. Mars is cooking along in Aries. Dec. 30th? Uranus moves into Pisces for a long spell. But what’s it mean? Stay tuned.

Capricorn: “It’s one of them pointer-setters, you know, them Christmas-y flower plants.” It was the first time I heard the expression “Pointer-setter,” and I was sure the person was referring to one of those pure-bird dogs, used for hunting. Instead, my fine, highly-esteemed and very Texan conversationalist was trying to make a point about traditional floral arrangements. Not dogs.

So it’s Merry Xmas, that time of the year, and we’re all looking forward to a good New Year, now that the big celebration has passed us. Deal is, there’s more than one favorite Capricorn having a birthday this week, and as such, there needs to be some good cheer. There will be. There is.

Mercury? Yes, Mr. Mercury is still spinning backwards and as such, the usual communications problems arise. Dogs or flowers? Not sure? Doesn’t hurt to back up and ask the person a second time. Either way, both are welcome, the dogs and the flowers. It’s going to be good, but you might misunderstand a heavy accent from time to time. “Flowers that can hunt?”

Aquarius: I could be way wrong here, but I think it’s called “Seasonal Affect Disorder.” It’s a kind of depression that comes from going without sunlight for too long. Plants need sunlight. It’s all a part of that “photosynthesis” biological-chemical event. Aquarius is in dire need of a little sunlight, too. Just a bright spot in the horizon, a single ray of hope while we’re all in the darkest hours.

“So this guy walks into a bar and says….” You’ve heard enough jokes, you can probably fill that one out with some tired version of your own humor. I’ll laugh, too.

See: this happens every year, right about this time, and the whole mess of the planets are in, is just compounded by that recalcitrant Mercury doing his backwards moon-walk, in Capricorn. None of this is helping. My tired attempts at humor don’t work. My exhaustive repertoire of sick humor isn’t working, either. About two days ago, I had to do a quick, emergency reading for an Aquarius friend. I felt like the only way to perk her up was to smash a beer can on my head. Didn’t work, and now I’ve got a lump on my forehead from trying to be entertaining. Relax and enjoy the holidays. Such as they are, and then get ready because your Aquarius turn is coming, just up and around the bend.

Pisces: I’ve built a number of websites. Not anything that I’m too proud of, just stuff that I do for friends, or occasionally clients, in order to make ends meet. Not really a big deal for me. I’ve done the sites for friends and family, and playing the role of “webmaster” can be fun. There’s one problem. Maybe not a big problem, but a theme that comes back time and again, “Hey, can you fix that one glitch/layout/design issue? Now?” Doesn’t much matter what that one problem is.

This scope starts on a holiday. Sure as can be, though, at least one of the web clients I’ve got will call. Probably that Pisces. The odds of getting through to me personally are pretty limited to immediate family. Since there are no Pisces in the immediate family doesn’t mean that I won’t have a loaded voice mail with a litany of Pisces complaints by Friday. It might be a cash-paying proposition, but that doesn’t mean goals and tasks will be accomplished on the Pisces timetable. Remember that. Some of us, for whatever reason, mostly non-Pisces people, consider ourselves to be on holiday at this point. You’re normal, orderly flow of work is going to get interrupted.

Aries: Nobody realizes how hard it is to write a decent Xmas day horoscope. I spent, literally, hours staring at the screen, waiting for some inspiration. Cold, rainy December days, not quite enough green stuff to go around, it’s just hard to get in the spirit of the season. With existing publication deadlines, there’s always that problem, I feel like I’m living in next week when it’s not yet next week.

One column I ran across, horoscopes, no doubt, called themselves, “Tomorrow’s news today.” Good claim. Too bad they can’t live up to the claim. I can’t live up to the claim, either.

I watched a wrangler work with a pony, not long ago. The little horse was spirited, but apparently, a little mean-tempered, too. That pony was used to going her own way, not following the lead very well. Probably a little Aries mare. That’s the problem, too, there’s a wrangler trying to gently teach you a lesson, and you’re not paying very close attention. Like that little pony, stomping its wee little hooves, the people who you want to give you sugar aren’t paying attention. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad holiday, but you’re going to want to learn to follow the lead a little better.

Taurus: Christmas Day is a new dawn for you. Sure, the littlest planet is doing a backwards bounce, and that’s going to screw up some of the usual lines of communication. I was told to be at the family homestead promptly at noon. I rolled in about 1 in the afternoon, and my immediate family was attired in bed clothes–still–rather jacked up on coffee, and just a tad irritated with my late appearance.

But once we got around to igniting the wreath, and the rest of the day’s celebration, it all got better. I was able to pass it off as Mercury fouling up the appointed time for the celebration. But I’m a professional astrologer, I can do that. Either way, though, it’s like the new cell phone I delivered that day, great toy; however, I was unable, despite being the family’s designated alpha geek, to get the thing to work. It’s a Mercury problem. Still, it was okay. Little things are going to go wrong. Forgot batteries? Didn’t charge up the battery in the new toy? None of this is life threatening, nor is any of it that much of a kill-joy. Enjoy the holidays, however you celebrate. I’ll promise that things in Taurus land are about to turn around.

Gemini: I got done wrapping some gifts last week, and I looked at two packages that I thought I’d labeled. Both boxes were long and thin. One had a riding crop in it, purchased at a saddle and tack shop in West Texas. It was to be a special gift for a dear friend who enjoys those kinds of toys. The other box had the most delicate, long-stem silk rose. A special rose, a yellow rose, a type of flower that Ma Wetzel is particularly attached to.

Whenever I’m headed back to the old homestead, she claims that a yellow rose will appear on the bush in the backyard. Both these gifts were in similar shaped boxes. Similar paper. In my haste, and I can blame Mercury, those boxes got tagged incorrectly. Went to the wrong folks.

Ma Wetzel got a riding crop, and the dominant female friend got a silk yellow rose. Both recipients were thrilled, but both were a little puzzled about the meaning. So Ma Wetzel spent a portion of Xmas telling people what to do, and making thwacking noises with a riding crop, enjoying herself immensely while my other friend was just sure that I was sweet on her. Mercury is backwards. Be careful about packages, wrapping, and what message your sending. In the confusion, though, you might make some folks happy with your mistakes. I did.

Cancer: The other evening I wandered through a local coffee shop, it was after a seeing a movie. The purpose of my visit was to get one of those sinful Egg Nog Latte drinks that I so enjoy. Steaming the egg nog itself cuts the sweetness factor by a degree and makes it more palatable. Then, considering that just about everything in life is better with a shot or two of espresso, this kind of holiday fare is perfect for cold winter’s night.

I watched as a young couple came in, shook the cold off, and then, after gathering up some drinks, they started to sort through the game boards the place keeps around. They managed to find the backgammon board, several in fact, but they couldn’t locate any playing pieces. No token, no markers, no plastic chips, nothing.

“Oh great,” the guy shrugged, “I guess we’ll have to talk.” He rolled his eyes. “Oh no, don’t worry, we’ll find some game pieces. Here,” the girl suggested, “we can use these checker pieces.” Mercury, Mars, the Sun, the holidays, it all adds up to not finding the gaming pieces you’re looking for. That’s the bad news. The upside is that you might find yourself talking to someone you actually enjoy spending time with. Might not be today, but I’m sure your version of this story plays out soon enough.

Leo: Merry Xmas. Good, we got that over. This happened a few years ago, not recently, okay? I was at a department store, a few days after Xmas, and I was shopping to fulfill my own wish list, get the things that I wanted rather than getting all those gifts that rarely fit in my trailer. I was with a girlfriend at the time, and I was trying hard to entertain her while we were shopping.

The shell-shocked staff were vaguely amused with us. When I was sure that I had a good audience, like, about three staff members, I held up a shirt on a hanger, turned to my date, and tiredly asked, “Honey, do I like this?” She rolled her eyes, and back in the truck, a few minutes later, after I did buy the shirt, I received a brow beating for making her look like a person who brow beats her boyfriend. I cowered as I drove, “Please don’t hit me again,” I pleaded.

So I found the whole episode amusing. She did not. I found an anecdote to tell, time and again. She shrewishly complained about being made out as a shrew. Once the big day is over, there are bargains to be had. Maybe go this alone. Maybe don’t involve other people. Maybe take it easy. In my example, you can be either one, but the problem with that, one person winds up unhappy. I don’t want any unhappy Leo’s these days.

Virgo: Merry Xmas! (Or happy whatever you celebrate!) I was with some friends, and one of them gave another one a DVD version of particular movie, one of those films that I love because it’s so campy, and we all watched it. There’s a death scene in it, wherein an ancillary character (best supporting death scene ever) gets shot. In the hands of the hero, or anti-hero, depending on one’s critical approach to it, the agony of the dying character gets a little too drawn out. Maybe stretched to the limits, even. The gurgling, gasping, final words seem to stretch out for an eternity.

Funny as can be. Remember, these are actors, in a professional setting, and no one was actually harmed in the making of the film. After watching the film for about the third time, we all started to giggle at that one scene, mimicking the noises. “Gurgle, gasp, hack, it’s growing dark now!” Then more gurgling noises. Much hilarity ensued. And to think, that one gift was more a gag gift, too. You never can tell what’s going to hit the mark, and especially with certain gifts. Something will hit your funny bone, and while it might not be what you expected, much hilarity will result. Enjoy the holiday.

Libra: It was a few weeks ago, I had a chance to watch a lady buying a saddle. You know, a real horse saddle. She had a myriad of questions about fit, duration of the purchase plan and what would happen if the custom-made saddle didn’t fit.

Picture this, she was astride a saddle, in a tack shop, with her rancher’s face, lined and sun bleached, a heavy shock of premature gray hair swept back. What if her pony didn’t like the saddle? Could she get her money back? How about if the saddle was too short? Could the stirrups be lengthened for her legs? Was there something that could be done about the tooling on the saddle itself? I think she wanted her ranch’s brand on the saddle someplace. The cowboy salesman was patiently answering her questions, dealing with each and every item on the list. Almost as if he’d heard all these questions before.

I don’t know what I would do in his situation. You’re probably feeling a lot like that cowboy salesman, too. Questions, questions. Coming from everywhere. And some of the questions? They are downright stupid. Be patient, as both Mercury and Mars are leaning on you. You can make the big sale, to the pretty rancher’s wife, and you can answer all the questions. But it’s going to sorely test your Libra patience.

Scorpio: You know that Mercury is backwards, right? Right. You’re smart, you’ve learned to keep track of this information. And you know that much hilarity can result from Mercury being backwards. Right? Right. Then you can also sense that I’m winding up to dump something on you, right? Wrong.

I just have one, little example. Ma Wetzel will be giving me and Sister some fairly identical gifts. Comes in a little box. It’s calendar set. Sister and me, we’ll squeal with glee as we open our gifts. Then we’ll look at each other, and behind Ma Wetzel’s back, we’ll swap our gifts because Sister got what I wanted, and I got what Sister wanted. She got the earrings and I got the pendant. That’s my guess. I realize that most boys don’t get earring for Xmas, but then I do have pierced ears, and new dangly things are fun. Or Sister wanted the Star Trek calendar and I wanted the Duct Tape one. I don’t know, I haven’t opened the package yet.

Sagittarius: It’s cold in central Texas. It’s cold in a lot of places. We’ll get a few days of relatively warm weather, but the forecast is cold. Doesn’t do much to warm the cockles of the Sagittarius heart, either.

Scrooge paid a visit this year, I wound up with a load of coal. Way it goes. Maybe I wasn’t a good boy in the last year. Might have been a few things I could’ve done differently. Then again, when I was bad, there was that one girl who loved it so… and maybe that’s why I’m getting coal.

Personally, I figure this is a mix-up due to the Santa’s list, and the way things are, and Mercury and all that. As a professional astrologer, acting in my professional capacity, I can easily gaze skyward, try and pick out Mercury, point to the little bugger, and blame him. It was obviously a foul-up on some other person’s part. Maybe an elf, who knows?

The more time spent trying to explain the problem though, that’s just a waste in breath and energy. Look, events aren’t really turning around until after the first of the year, kick back, enjoy family and friends, celebrate the spirit of the times, even if the events aren’t quite keeping up with your expectations. Like Bubba always says, “When life gives you lemons, that means it’s time for tequila shots!”

About the author: Born and raised in a small town in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel spent years honing his craft in trailer park in South Austin. He hates writing about himself in third person. More at KramerWetzel.com.

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